ITV have just announced a new drama series called Harlots that will be produced in association with US streaming site Hulu. Samantha Morton headlines with Lesley Manville and Jessica Brown Findlay also lined up as co-stars.
The 18th century set 8 part period drama will air on ITV Encore in the UK and on Hulu in the US under the Hulu Originals banner. Monumental Pictures are the production company.
According to the PR Harlots is a powerful family drama offering a brand new take on the city’s most valuable commercial activity – sex.
Based on the stories of real women, the series follows Margaret Wells (Morton) and her daughters, as she struggles to reconcile her roles as mother and brothel owner. When her business comes under attack from Lydia Quigley (Manville), a rival madam with a ruthless streak, Margaret will fight back, even if it means putting her family at risk.
Brown Findlay will star as Charlotte, Margaret’s eldest daughter and the city’s most coveted courtesan who begins to grapple with her position in both society and her immediate family.
Written by acclaimed playwright and screenwriter, Moira Buffini (Jane Eyre, Tamara Drewe) and based upon an original idea by Moira Buffini and Alison Newman, Harlots is the first commission for Monumental Pictures, the independent company founded by Oscar nominated producers Alison Owen (Suffragette, Tulip Fever) and Debra Hayward (Bridget Jones’s Baby, Les Misérables).
The series will begin filming in London in June 2016 and will be directed by Coky Giedroyc (What Remains, Penny Dreadful) and China Moo-Young (Thirteen, Humans). Lawrence Till (Mr Selfridge, Shameless) will serve as producer of the series, and Alison Owen and Debra Hayward serve as executive producers alongside Alison Carpenter, Moira Buffini and Alison Newman.
Commenting on the commission of Harlots, Executive Producer Alison Owen said: “In 1760s London there were brothels on every corner run by women who were both enterprising and tenacious. History has largely ignored them, but their stories are in turn outrageous, brutal, humorous and real.”